IT asset discovery: Analyze your critical IT assets
This article was originally published here on December 05, 2017.
The IT asset discovery phase is the critical first stage of a data center transformation project. In a complex environment, this phase can last months, particularly if performed manually. But businesses are not static.
“Doesn’t the IT department already know what hardware and software they have, how it interacts, and which users those assets support? After all, IT supports its systems every day.”
It’s a valid question, and the answer, unfortunately, is probably “no.” Or, not in the detail required to successfully complete a data center move, consolidation, or cloud migration without running into serious problems.
While the discovery phase is ongoing, new equipment may be added or decommissioned, new virtual instances created, and applications changed. Therefore, one must take care so that the discovery phase deliverable does not become outdated before completion.
Always update IT inventory
Many organizations embark on major data center initiatives without first understanding what assets they have and their relationships to applications, business processes, and internal or external services.
Without a comprehensive and up-to-date inventory of your IT assets, a project could result in loss of critical services because an asset, service, or dependency was overlooked.
In most data centers, technology was added piece-by-piece over the years. A new server was brought in to support a newly computerized business function. A merger or acquisition amalgamated heterogeneous hardware and software, and those most familiar with the acquired systems were no longer with the company post-merger.
More storage units were added to accommodate new and/or growing databases. Networking components were added to improve connectivity and/or bandwidth. IT asset discovery changes all of this.
A visual inspection of hardware and a spreadsheet checklist is an error-prone exercise, particularly if the equipment is spread out over multiple locations. And what about all of those virtual assets?
Think of all the hypervisors, operating systems, apps, databases, middleware, and other supporting services that can run on a single physical blade server. With all this to account for it’s no wonder why things get overlooked.
Connecting the pieces together
Knowing what you have in your data center isn’t enough. You must understand how every piece interrelates and what business processes they support, essentially “what talks to what.”
Consider again that if employees with critical knowledge leave your company, their knowledge may go with them if there is no up-to-date documentation.
Here are some questions to consider in the IT discovery process:
- Which storage units, networking gear, and physical or virtual servers support which applications?
- Who “owns” and uses those applications?
- What business processes depend on each application?
- What dependencies exist between applications and technologies?
- How do I find all of this out?
Without first answering these fundamental questions, changes to IT infrastructure may result in some applications not working at all because vital components were not incorporated into the new environment or necessary linkages were broken.
Milestones in the IT asset discovery journey
This journey starts with uncovering all the assets in your IT environment along with vital information essential for a successful data center move, consolidation, or cloud migration. This is also regarded as the first stage for data center transformation and is a critical step.
The next leg of the journey requires that we have a running understanding of the assets in our inventory and their relationship to applications, processes, and services. Therefore, it is pertinent that we keep our inventory updated at all times to avoid loss of critical business services due to an overlooked asset.
The journey is only complete when we finish determining the interrelationships of the assets and the businesses they support. This prevents application shutdown from incorrect incorporation into the new environment or broken linkages.
Virima features can automatically discover and map your critical IT resources and the interconnections that link them to one another, your applications and services, and your users.
Virima is here to help. To get started, contact us today to schedule a demo and explore the possibilities!
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